Tesla Begins Solar Roof Ramp Up At Gigafactory 2

Tesla Begins Solar Roof Ramp Up At Gigafactory 2

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first_img Tesla Struggles With Solar Roof Production, Quality Issues Noted Source: Electric Vehicle News Watch Tesla Solar Roof Get Destroyed More than 800 workers are now full-time employees at the Buffalo Gigafactory 2 locationLed by Ryan Nungesser – the top level on-site employee – the Buffalo located Gigafactory 2 is ramping up production to fulfill all the Tesla Solar Roof orders after months of delays and several production issues. What Tesla envisioned as a holistic approach to clean energy production, the Tesla Solar roof is an integral part that will generate electricity from a roof, which will then be stored in a Tesla Powerwall battery storage, then used to power up both your home and your vehicles.More about the Tesla Solar Roof The Tesla Solar roof is essentially an entire roof made out of electricity-generating shingles. Unlike stand-alone electricity-generating solar panels, these integrate more effectively with the roof’s design, but also, provide a much larger surface for the power to be generated from. For Tesla, the Gigafactory 2, located in Buffalo, New York, is an integral part of bringing their holistic approach to power generation to the mass market. When fully scaled up, the company expects the factory to produce enough solar cells for more than 150,000 residential solar installations every single year. And it seems the company is right on track to achieve that goal.Tesla is now ahead of the job creation targets the company agreed to with the New York state. Right now, the Gigafactory 2 on South Park Avenue in Buffalo is now home to more than 800 full-time employees and finally ramping up production.Tesla Solar Roof in Smooth GlassWhile the company didn’t disclose how many solar panels are made weekly, but judging by the number of people employed and the steady pace that the company is bringing new workers to it, we can expect full-size production volume to be achieved quite soon. Last week, Tesla invited a slew of local journalists for a tour of the Buffalo facility, giving the media a first-time access to the finished factory. Tesla is set to bring even more capital investments to the Buffalo location, filling up the 1.2 million-square-foot facility with high-tech manufacturing equipment. With this, we can expect a continued fast growth of its workforce, slated to grow steadily at least through 2019.With the Solar Roof, Tesla is seemingly rounding up their eco-friendly product offerings. In reality, we’re still months away from any large-scale implementation. However, the future looks bright. If they – alongside other high-tech companies and carmakers – can produce solutions like these at scale, the future of motoring looks clean & bright all the way. Hopefully, the lawmakers don’t try to impede that growth by imposing ill-advised taxation or other government-led methods of charging people to produce their own electricity. But to be frank, we kinda expect that to happen. At least on some limited scale.Source: Biz Journals Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on November 17, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News CNBC Checks In On Progress Of Tesla’s Solar Roof Tileslast_img read more

BMW 5th Generation Electric Drive To Be Extremely Compact

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first_img Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on December 30, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News 16 photos Prototype production of future fifth-generation BMW Group e-drive train: electric motor, transmission and power electronics are combined in a separate, compact e-drive component. Size comparison with BMW i3 e-motor with power electronics, without transmission (left).Full interview: The German manufacturer prepares the new architecture to achieve flexibility and scalability of production of drive system and battery packs between various models. All types (BEVs, PHEVs, HEVs and ICE) will be produced on the same production lines.“On the one hand, we will have flexible vehicle architectures and, on the other, the scalable and modular building blocks for the electric drive systems. This will bring about a lasting increase in flexibility. In future, we will be able to swiftly decide which models we are going to equip with what mix of all-electric drive, plug-in hybrid drive or exceptionally efficient combustion engines. This will let us partially or fully electrify each model in accordance with market demand, creating the basis for the mass-market introduction of pure battery electric vehicles in the future.”The all-electric models will be up to 700 km (435 miles) on a single charge in top configuration, while the plug-in hybrids are up to 100 km (62 miles)..embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }Current lineup:BMW i3 (third model evolution with 120 Ah)BMW i3sBMW i8 Coupe (2nd model evolution)BMW i8 RoadsterBMW 740e and BMW 740LeBMW 530eBMW 225xe Active TourerMINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4BMW X1 xDrive25Le (in China only)Upcoming models for 2019:BMW 3 Series Sedan – new plug-in hybrid variant (2nd model evolution)BMW X5Upcoming models with 5th generation drive system:BMW iX3 in 2020 (first based on 5th generation drivetrain)BMW i4BMW iNEXTPlan for 2025:25 plug-in cars, 12 BEVs and 13 PHEVs BMW Will Spend $237 Million On Battery Cell Competence Center More from BMW Stefan JuraschekMr. Juraschek, was BMW slow off the mark with electric mobility? Juraschek: No, absolutely not. The BMW Group actually played a pioneering role with BMW i. Today we are the premium manufacturer offering the widest range of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. We currently produce the following electrified models: the BMW i3 (third model evolution with 120 Ah) , BMW i3s, BMW i8 Coupe, BMW i8 Roadster, BMW 740e, BMW 740Le, BMW 530e, BMW 225xe Active Tourer, MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 and, in China, the BMW X1 xDrive25Le. Plus, we have also announced new plug-in hybrid variants of the 3 Series Sedan and BMW X5 for 2019 following the arrival of new model generations. This number is set to grow to at least 13 plug-in hybrid models by 2025. Adding these to the wide selection of all-electric cars – whose range is due to increase substantially next year incidentally – will bring the portfolio of electrified vehicles to at least 25.Sales topped the 100,000 mark last year and will have grown by around 50% this year.Is the BMW Group prepared if electric mobility starts to gather momentum at an even greater pace in future? Juraschek: The BMW Group is already developing its fifth generation of electric drive systems, meaning that it has created an excellent foundation for the future. This latest generation will go into service as soon as 2020 in the BMW iX3.A crucial advantage of this fifth-generation system is that the electric motor, transmission and power electronics now form a single, highly integrated electric drive component. This extremely compact unit takes up far less space than the three separate components used in preceding generations. Its modular construction means that it is scalable, too, allowing it to be modified to suit all sorts of different installation spaces and power requirements. The BMW Group will start to fit the next generation of battery cells in the new, scalable and even more powerful vehicle batteries alongside the introduction of the new electric drive components. The modular “building block” concept will allow the new batteries to be incorporated flexibly into every vehicle architecture. Another highly integrated component will be added to the portfolio in the form of a DC/DC charger unit.So how will it all work? Juraschek: On the one hand, we will have flexible vehicle architectures and, on the other, the scalable and modular building blocks for the electric drive systems. This will bring about a lasting increase in flexibility. In future, we will be able to swiftly decide which models we are going to equip with what mix of all-electric drive, plug-in hybrid drive or exceptionally efficient combustion engines. This will let us partially or fully electrify each model in accordance with market demand, creating the basis for the mass-market introduction of pure battery electric vehicles in the future.Don’t you think there is a risk of not being able to obtain the necessary quantities of raw materials once battery electric vehicles start to be produced in big numbers? Juraschek: We do not see any supply risks, even in the event of growing demand for battery cells. My colleagues in Purchasing have secured a reliable supply with long-term contracts. We have also built up in-house battery cell expertise over the course of joint projects with international partners throughout the value chain. This is used to ensure access to the technology and to safeguard supplies. At the same time, we are also endeavouring to gradually lower the proportion of critical raw materials that are used. For example, one of the key objectives of our research and development activities is to bring about a substantial reduction in the proportion of cobalt in battery cells.The electric motor in our fifth-generation electric powertrain is another illustration of this, as it is completely free of rare earths.Staying on the subject of battery cells: Some well-known competitors of yours are employing round cells or pouch cells. Why are you using prismatic cells? Juraschek: The prismatic hard case arrangement makes the battery modules more suitable for industrialisation by increasing the level of automation during module assembly. Besides this, safety systems such as a safety valve for shutting down the cell in the event of a short circuit can be integrated more easily. It also allows us to achieve a higher packing density, meaning that optimum use can be made of the installation space in the vehicle.Battery cell manufacturers in China, Japan and Korea have been investing enormous sums of money in cell development and future battery technologies for years now. Is it still possible to catch up with them, both technologically and economically? Juraschek: We don’t consider any of our competitors to hold an advantage over us when it comes to the battery technology. When all the characteristics are viewed together, our battery technology is on a par with or superior to the competition’s, depending on how you look at it. We have been dealing with the issue of battery cells since 2008 and are in a strong position today thanks, among other things, to an international network of collaborations. For us, it is important to continue to expand our in-house expertise and keep advancing battery cell technology. What’s more, building battery cell prototypes and producing small batches enables us to fully analyse the production processes and acquire build-to-print capabilities. In this way, we can provide system suppliers with exact instructions based on BMW Group specifications, from material selection through to cell production.So why don’t you produce the battery cells yourselves? Juraschek: In the BMW Group’s view, producing the cells would not give us a competitive advantage, either now or in years to come. We make electrical components ourselves, using our in-house manufacturing facilities, whenever we think there is an advantage to be gained from it, as is the case with the electric powertrain. That’s why we use supplied battery cells to produce the modules ourselves, before turning them into complete high-voltage batteries.Is it really worth doing that? Surely you could buy the electric motor from a supplier instead? Juraschek: When the development plans for the BMW i3 became tangible, there wasn’t a single electric motor on the market that would have met all our criteria. And today we are still just as unwilling to make any compromises when it comes to key performance characteristics, such as space requirements, output and weight. Drive systems have always been an area that has set the BMW Group apart from the competition. And exactly the same applies to electric drive systems.All electric motors are basically the same, though. Can customers really notice a difference? Juraschek: The customer may not be able to identify every characteristic of an electric motor, but a significant difference does become apparent in head-to-head comparisons. Probably the most obvious thing that the customer will notice is the speed up to which the motor can sustain its performance. A more indirect effect is that the vehicle’s range will drop faster if the electric motor operates less efficiently.The BMW Group is working together with Northvolt and Umicore. Why is that exactly? Juraschek: The objective is to establish a closed lifecycle loop for sustainable battery cells in Europe. This starts with a recyclable cell design and continues with a production process that mainly uses renewable energies. The battery cells should first fulfil their primary purpose in cars for as long as possible. Once their lifecycle there comes to an end, they could potentially be used in stationary energy storage devices. Finally, the battery cell is recycled and the raw materials reused, completing the loop.And what are the tasks fulfilled by each of the three partners? Juraschek: The BMW Group is focusing on cell development, Northvolt is building a cell production facility in Sweden and Umicore is the materials cycle and recycling expert.BMW had already come up with some developments for materials recycling. What do you now expect to achieve by joining forces with Umicore? Juraschek: Yes, both partners are embarking on this project with their own fundamental developments. We are working together with Umicore on the development of recyclable cell/battery technology that is then followed by a sustainable production process. At a later stage, large quantities of material will, of course, be fed back into the loop for recycling. Before this happens, however, I foresee a long phase of primary use in vehicles followed by second-life use in stationary storage devices.How does this secondary use work exactly? Juraschek: As far as the BMW Group is concerned, employing used batteries as stationary energy storage devices is a logical step towards holistic sustainability. The use of stationary energy storage devices is set to gain greatly in importance with the ongoing energy revolution. At times when surplus electrical power is generated from renewable sources, it can be stored in these stationary devices. And during periods of low electricity generation, the storage device can then release the accumulated power. We have already successfully implemented this type of power grid stabilisation with used batteries from BMW i3 and MINI E prototypes as part of joint development projects with partners such as Vattenfall, Bosch and NextEra. The energy storage farm at BMW Group Plant Leipzig, which holds a total of 700 BMW i3 batteries, is one example of how profitable use can be made of batteries at the end of their service life in vehicles by giving them a second life as part of a sustainable energy model. This demonstrates once again how the sustainability concept at BMW i extends far beyond the vehicle. Source: Electric Vehicle News Compact drive systems are the way to goAccording to latest interview with Stefan Juraschek, Vice President Development Electric-Powertrain at BMW, the crucial advantage of the upcoming fifth-generation drive system is high integration of electric motor, transmission and power electronics into single component.The 5th generation drive system to be more capable in terms of performances and smaller, as well as cheaper than the current generation.“A crucial advantage of this fifth-generation system is that the electric motor, transmission and power electronics now form a single, highly integrated electric drive component. This extremely compact unit takes up far less space than the three separate components used in preceding generations. Its modular construction means that it is scalable, too, allowing it to be modified to suit all sorts of different installation spaces and power requirements. The BMW Group will start to fit the next generation of battery cells in the new, scalable and even more powerful vehicle batteries alongside the introduction of the new electric drive components. The modular “building block” concept will allow the new batteries to be incorporated flexibly into every vehicle architecture. Another highly integrated component will be added to the portfolio in the form of a DC/DC charger unit.” BMW Says All Future 5th Gen Cars Will Have Room For Battery Pack BMW Video Highlights 5th Generation Electric Powertrainslast_img read more

Nissan LEAF Sales In Japan Increased 52 In 2018

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first_imgIn 2019, Nissan LEAF probably will break into the top 30 sales chart in JapanThe sales of the Nissan LEAF in Japan collapsed in December by 80% to just 455, but it’s all normal – seen several times – in the month preceding the introduction of a new version. This time we are waiting for the Nissan LEAF e+ in January.The year 2018 was great for the LEAF in Japan as sales increased by 52% to an all-time record of 25,722, which was enough to take #35 in the overall model ranking. Average monthly sales stood at 2,143.Since December 2010, Nissan sold in Japan 115,141 LEAFs.Nissan LEAF results Nissan LEAF sales in Japan – December 2018 Nissan LEAF and Nissan LEAF e+ offer in JapanThe year 2019 promises to be exciting as the 62 kWh version LEAF e+ will go on sale early in Japan. With such a big battery and nationwide CHAdeMO network, LEAF should sell like hot cakes, especially since the 40 kWh still will be available.The e+ costs around 14% more than the corresponding 40 kWh LEAF (e+ X trim vs. X trim), while the difference compared to the base S is 28%. Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on January 13, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Nissan Reveals LEAF e-Plus: 62 kWh Battery, 226-Mile Rangecenter_img Nissan LEAF Sales Rise Up In December 2018 In U.S. Source: Electric Vehicle News In 2018 Nissan Sold Close To 40,000 LEAFs In Europelast_img read more

Heskey leaves Chelseas hopes in tatters

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first_imgChelsea Share on Pinterest Topics Reuse this content Fifteen years have elapsed since Alex Ferguson, then without the knighthood, and his Manchester United assistant Brian Kidd lost their minds in celebration on the Old Trafford pitch, after a craggy-faced central defender stunned Sheffield Wednesday with two late headers which proved decisive in the race for the championship.Steve Bruce is still fondly remembered by the red half of Manchester after his heroics propelled United to the first title under Ferguson and last night, after a pulsating 90 minutes, he was at it again to help his former manager towards his 10th.Bruce’s Wigan Athletic had played a full part in a nervy occasion for Chelsea but in the second minute of injury time they brought the home side to their knees. Wigan don’t score too many away from home and before last night had only mustered two in the league since January 2. But Emile Heskey’s volley from the substitute Jason Koumas’ precise centre triggered scenes reminiscent of April 1993. Bruce charged on to the pitch, eyes wide with delirium, as his club’s survival hopes received a shot in the arm.For Chelsea, though, this was a kick in another area. Avram Grant wandered lost on the touchline, struggling to come to terms with the setback. His team had led through Michael Essien but could not kill off a spirited Wigan. As boos swirled around the stadium, Grant sent on Andriy Shevchenko as a 93rd-minute substitute. The home crowd howled and, not for the first time, voiced their belief that he didn’t know what he was doing.Grant does know, though, that failure to win at Everton on Thursday night, in a match cruelly rescheduled for television, might spell the end of Chelsea’s dogged title challenge with United scheduled to visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday week. United will now be dreaming of winning the title at the home of their rivals.”We have to beat Everton; if we don’t it could be very difficult,” Grant said. The Israeli has never won the hearts of the home crowd, many of whom continue to pine for his predecessor, Jose Mourinho, and there was only loneliness for him here. When the team wins the players enjoy the plaudits but when they falter the finger of blame always seeks out Grant.He was shorn of Didier Drogba because of the striker’s knee injury and, half an hour before kick-off, he lost Frank Lampard, who had to rush from the ground after a member of his family fell seriously ill. Grant claimed that the tactical rejig at short notice had “affected” his players.Grant, though, with an eye on the Everton game, had also rotated his personnel and he was later forced to defend himself. “We are at the end of the season, we have many games and we have to keep the players fresh,” he said. “I do it all the time.”There was defiance from Grant. “We are still in it,” he insisted. “We will keep on fighting. We needed United to have a bad result anyway and also lose to us at Stamford Bridge so it hasn’t changed so much. The players still believe we can win the title.”After United’s dramatic victory over Arsenal a little over 24 hours previously, however, the timing of this result felt like a fatal blow to Chelsea’s hopes. Wigan, well drilled and bristling with endeavour, enjoyed a purple patch midway through the first half when Petr Cech, back in the team after his facial injury and wearing a protective chin strap to go with his head guard, saved from Antonio Valencia. Nicolas Anelka had most of his team’s first-half opportunities – Chris Kirkland clawed one looping header acrobatically to safety – while Josip Skoko kicked one Chelsea chance off his own line.But it was not until Grant introduced Joe Cole at half-time that Chelsea enjoyed some urgency. Wigan felt the pressure. From a Juliano Belletti corner, John Terry volleyed against the crossbar; shortly afterwards, Salomon Kalou was denied at point-blank range by a wonderful Kirkland block. The breakthrough was coming and it arrived when Cole’s cross was held up by Anelka. His cushioned lay-off invited Essien to strike from just inside the area and the Ghanaian’s aim was unerring.Stamford Bridge exhaled but Wigan refused to lie down. The substitute Antoine Sibierski marauded through but could not direct his shot past Cech and, after Kirkland had denied Essien at the other end, Heskey produced his coup de grâce.”As you can imagine, he [Ferguson] has been on the phone,” smiled Bruce. “He phoned me twice before the game and twice before the Arsenal game. They have been his only calls all season. Four times! I’ve also had a few calls from friends in Manchester. In fact, I can feel my phone going now …”The voice on the other end was surely Glaswegian, and delighted. Share on LinkedIn Shares00 Share on WhatsApp Share on Messenger match reports Wigan Athletic Share on Facebook Share via Email Share on Twitter Mon 14 Apr 2008 20.29 EDT Soccer First published on Mon 14 Apr 2008 20.29 EDT Soccer Share on Twitter David Hytner at Stamford Bridge Emile Heskey @DaveHytner Share on Facebook Heskey leaves Chelsea’s hopes in tatters Share via Emaillast_img read more

Friday Roundup

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first_imgDOJ seeks legislative changes, a focus on FCPA Inc., credit ratings, across the pond, scrutiny update, and for the reading stack.It’s all here in the Friday RoundupDOJ Seeks Legislative ChangesThe DOJ’s efforts to eradicate corruption and bribery is broader than just Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement and includes: “public integrity prosecutions, bribery prosecutions, prosecutions of taxpayers who seek to conceal foreign accounts, money laundering prosecutions, [and its] Kleptocracy Initiative.”Regarding these other efforts, last week the DOJ issued this press release announcing that it “will submit to Congress proposals for legislative amendments in two areas:  first, regarding the illegal proceeds of transnational corruption; and second, regarding substantive corruption offenses.” For further details on the proposed legislative amendments, see this 13 page document released by the DOJ.A Focus on FCPA Inc.This American Lawyer article titled “Firms Cash In on Anti-Bribery Expertise Amid Litigation Slowdown” begins: “big-ticket litigations involving scores of lawyers may be thinner on the ground these days, but a surge in global anti-corruption probes is helping to make up for it at a few firms.”Other prior articles to touch upon the same general issues include the following:“Cashing in on Corruption” (Washington Post)“The Bribery Racket” (Forbes)“FCPA Inc. and the Business of Bribery” (Wall Street Journal)“The Anti-Bribery Business” (The Economist)Credit RatingsThe article “FCPA Ripples” highlights how settlement amounts in an actual FCPA enforcement action are often only a relatively minor component of the overall financial consequences that can result from FCPA scrutiny or enforcement in this new era.Among the many “ripples” of FCPA scrutiny and enforcement discussed in the article are negative credit ratings which increase the cost of capital for business organizations under FCPA scrutiny.On this issue, Moody’s recently released this report “Heightened US FCPA Enforcement to Continue But Priorities Shift.” In short, Moody’s states: “the wide range of potential outcomes and timing in [FCPA cases] can create substantial short-to-medium term uncertainty for credit investors, and we often view this uncertainty as credit negative.”While that is the key take-away from the Moody’s report, there are several factual errors and curious and speculative statements in the report. For starters, BAE was not an FCPA enforcement action. The curious and speculative statements include: (i) “the DOJ is shifting its focus to ‘high impact’ corporate cases and individual prosecutions, while the SEC is focusing on the books and records and internal controls provisions of the FCPA;” (ii) “heightened [FCPA enforcement] will benefit those companies that respond by strengthening their controls and compliance policies, reducing their susceptibility to fines, penalties, legal damages, reputation loss and higher capital/borrowing and other costs;” and (iii) “the slowdown in DOJ enforcement [in 2015] was also partly due to an increase in voluntary self-disclosure and cooperation by corporations, which the DOJ indicated led to an uptick in the number of cases where it declined prosecution.”Across the PondEarlier this week, the U.K. Serious Fraud Office announced:“[Peter Chapman] a former manager of a polymer banknote manufacturer, Securency PTY Ltd, was … convicted of four counts of making corrupt payments to a foreign official contrary to the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. He was acquitted on two counts.[…]Mr Chapman paid bribes to an agent of Nigerian Security Printing and Minting PLC in order to secure orders for the purchase of reams of polymer substrate from Securency. The total value of the bribes, he was convicted of paying to the agent was approximately US$205,000.Commenting on the conviction, Director of the SFO David Green CB QC said:“This has been a long, detailed investigation and a complex prosecution involving assistance from a wide range of jurisdictions. Crimes like this damage the UK’s commercial reputation and this conviction shows that such activity will not be tolerated.”The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and Securency referred allegations of corruption to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in May 2009. The allegations were that Securency, at the time jointly owned by RBA and UK manufacturing firm Innovia Films Ltd, paid bribes to foreign government officials via agents in order to secure contracts with certain governments in Asia and Africa for the printing of banknotes.”As noted in this subsequent SFO release: Chapman “was sentenced to 30 months on each count, to be served concurrently. Due to time already served, he is serving the remainder of his sentence on licence.”Scrutiny UpdatePetrobras RelatedAccording to Bloomberg:“U.S. authorities are investigating more than a dozen companies as part of an international bribery probe that has already led to more than 150 arrests in Brazil, according to people familiar with the matter.Prosecutors in the U.S. and Brazil are effectively dividing the investigation to suit their respective strengths as they pursue suspected graft related to Brazil’s state-run oil giant. Brazilian law allows authorities to file criminal graft charges against people but not companies, whereas the U.S. has been more successful pursuing companies accused of corruption.The U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission have been speaking with their Brazilian counterparts and gathering information from companies, said three people who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The U.S. is hoping the exchange of documents and other information will allow it to mount a case against Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, and companies that it had contracts with, two of the people said.[…]U.S. authorities are looking at any company that has been named publicly in the Brazilian investigation, two of the people said. Those include builders Odebrecht SA, OAS SA and Andrade Gutierrez SA. Executives from all three companies were convicted or pleaded guilty in the scandal. Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA, known as Eletrobras, has also been mentioned and a former executive has been arrested.These companies have shares or bonds that trade in the U.S., allowing American authorities to claim jurisdiction.[…]SBM Offshore NV, a Dutch-based oil and gas company, is also getting another look by U.S. prosecutors after the U.S. cleared it of corruption allegations in 2014, the two people said. At the time, SBM said in a statement it would pay $240 million to Dutch authorities and take remedial measures, without admitting wrongdoing, to settle bribery allegations involving Brazil and two other countries.[…]Brazil informed the U.S. last year that it believed an additional four companies paid bribes to win contracts from Petrobras, Carlos Lima, a Brazilian prosecutor, said in June. Those companies are units or affiliates of Samsung Heavy Industries Co., Skanska AB, AP Moeller-Maersk A/S and Toyo Engineering Corp.”Harris Corp.As highlighted here, Harris Corp. was the last publicly traded company to put the DOJ to burden of proof in an FCPA enforcement and in 1991 a federal court judge granted a defense motion for acquittal after the DOJ’s case-in-chief.As highlighted here, in 2011 the company disclosed FCPA scrutiny in connection with an acquisition in China. The company recently disclosed:“As an international company, we are, from time to time, the subject of investigations relating to our international operations, including under U.S. export control laws and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and other similar U.S. and international laws. On April 4, 2011, we completed the acquisition of Carefx Corporation (“Carefx”) and thereby also acquired its subsidiaries, including in China (“Carefx China”). Following the closing, we became aware that certain entertainment, travel and other expenses in connection with the Carefx China operations may have been incurred or recorded improperly. In response, we initiated an internal investigation and learned that certain employees of the Carefx China operations had provided pre-paid gift cards and other gifts and payments to certain customers, potential customers, consultants, and government regulators, after which we took certain remedial actions. The results of the investigation have been disclosed to our Audit Committee, Board of Directors and auditors, and voluntarily to the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the SEC. The SEC and DOJ initiated investigations with respect to this matter. During the second quarter of fiscal 2016, the DOJ advised us that they have determined not to take any action against us related to this matter. The DOJ further advised us that its decision was based on its overall view of the evidence as to our level of acquisition due diligence and integration efforts, our voluntary disclosure to the DOJ and SEC, our remediation efforts and our cooperation throughout the investigation, which is continuing. At this time we also are continuing to cooperate with the SEC regarding its investigation. We cannot predict at this time the duration or scope of, developments in, results of, or any regulatory action or other potential consequences from, such investigation or otherwise in connection with this matter. However, based on the information available to date, we do not believe that this matter will have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.”Sable Mining AfricaAccording to this Wall Street Journal article:“[The company] made payments to government officials in West Africa in 2010 before winning lucrative mineral concessions, according to documents reviewed and interviews conducted by The Wall Street Journal.Separately, investigative nonprofit Global Witness, in a report released Wednesday and reviewed by the Journal, says its investigation shows Sable made payments to government officials and people close to the government in Liberia and Guinea, hoping to get favorable decisions for mining deals. Sable, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands, owns mining rights to a plot of land in Guinea it says is rich in iron ore, and has secured the right to export it through Liberia.”For the Reading StackThe FCPA has always been a law much broader than its name suggests. Indeed, the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions are some of the most generic legal provisions one can find and most alleged violations of these provisions have nothing to do with foreign bribery. (For lack of a better word, call these non-FCPA FCPA enforcement actions).A dandy article here from Orrick attorneys discussing recent SEC enforcement actions addressing internal controls failures outside the context of alleged foreign bribery.*****A good weekend to all.last_img read more

Friday Roundup

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first_imgPredictable, scrutiny alert, in the words of Attorney General Lynch, bankrupt, DOJ guidance, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.PredictableIt’s as predictable as the sun rising in the east.A former FCPA enforcement official criticizes certain aspects of FCPA enforcement. As noted in this Law360 article, former DOJ Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny Breuer (who took a great interest in FCPA enforcement while in that position – see here for the article “Lanny Breuer and FCPA Enforcement”) recently observed as follows regarding the DOJ’s FCPA Pilot Program.“Breuer … said that the pilot program was an example of prosecutors’ trying to provide more carrots and sticks meant to encourage companies to self-report violations. “I would say that on paper … these are very desirable benefits to the programs,” he said. “But they’re still discretionary.” And that uncertainty means that the calculus for companies thinking about self-reporting any violations has not significantly changed, Breuer said. The Justice Department does not have to decline to prosecute and does not have to lower the fines, especially in an environment where the government, particularly the SEC, has developed an aggressive interpretation of the FCPA, he said. Breuer added that the Justice Department has taken an aggressive stance on what constitutes proper cooperation to reduce penalties, something else that has to be taken into consideration.”Scrutiny AlertVimpelCom was not the only company involved in the Uzbek telecommunications bribery scheme. As highlighted in this prior post, Swedish telecom company (a company with ADRs registered with the SEC) and Russia-based Mobile TeleSystems PJSC (a company with shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange) have also been scrutiny.TeliaSonera recently disclosed:“On September 14, Telia Company received a proposal from the US and the Dutch authorities for financial sanctions amounting to a total of approximately USD 1.45 billion or approximately SEK 12.5 billion. Telia Company has decided to continue its negotiations with the authorities. It is not at present possible to assess when the investigations will be finally resolved.[…]Resolution of the various investigations is complex and will require further discussion and negotiation with the various government agencies involved in the investigations. Without certainty as to the timing and amount that may be paid at the time of a final resolution, Telia Company has recorded a USD 1.45 billion (SEK 12.5 billion) provision at the balance sheet date.”In the Words of Attorney General LynchIn this recent speech, Attorney General Loretta Lynch stated:“In pursuing this mission [of detecting corruption and bringing wrongdoers to justice], the Justice Department has had the benefit of several powerful tools.  The public integrity units in our Criminal Division, our U.S. Attorney’s Offices, and our Federal Bureau of Investigation have prosecuted and convicted corrupt officials at all levels of the American government.  And since 2009, under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the department has brought more than 65 individual criminal cases and more than 65 cases against corporations in connection with foreign bribery charges – many of them in coordination with our foreign law enforcement partners.  These investigations have resulted in the collection of more than $4.4 billion in penalties, and they have had the welcome effect of increasing corporate self-scrutiny, incentivizing companies to better train, monitor, and discipline their own agents and subsidiaries around the world.  In the same period, our colleagues at the Securities and Exchange Commission have brought suit against more than 100 companies and 40 individuals, resulting in approximately $2.6 billion in monetary relief.  The message we are seeking to send through these enforcement actions is simple: We expect businesses and organizations – and anyone acting on behalf of these entities – to play by the rules, whether they act overseas or in the United States.”It is of course a debatable point whether the DOJ’s approach to FCPA enforcement has best incentivized (compared to alternative approaches) companies to better train, monitor and discipline their own agents and subsidiaries around the world.Bankruptcy FilingThis August post regarding the FCPA enforcement action against Key Energy Services noted that the $5 million settlement amount was, in part, a reflection of the fact that the company was on the verge of bankruptcy.As noted in this company release, earlier this week “Key Energy Services, Inc. and certain of its domestic subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code on October 24, 2016 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware …”.DOJ GuidanceSimilar to the DOJ’s April 2016 FCPA Pilot Program, the DOJ National Security Division recently released this document titled “Guidance Regarding Voluntary Self-Disclosures, Cooperation, and Remediation in Export Controls and Sanctions Investigations Involving Business Organizations.”“This Guidance memorializes the policy of NSD to encourage business organizations to voluntarily self-disclose criminal violations of the statutes implementing the U.S. government’s primary export control and sanctions regimes – the Arms Export Control Act … and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act …”.For a useful summary, see here from Paul Hastings.For the Reading StackA summary of recent comments by SEC FCPA Unit Chief Kara Brockmeyer at a recent conference courtesy of BakerHostetler.From the New York Times:Feasts of crocodile tail. Pricey liquor by the bucketful. A nanny employed just to take care of pets. Bundles of jade bracelets worth millions. A free trip to the World Cup in Brazil. Titillating scenes from “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”? Not quite. They are highlights from a new Chinese television series about official corruption and loose living that is best described as “Lifestyles of the Venal and Disgraced.”*****A good weekend to all.last_img read more

Issues To Consider From The SBM Offshore Enforcement Action

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first_img Elevate Your FCPA Research There are several subject matter tags in this post. However, only subscribers to FCPA Professor’s premium search feature can see and use them in research. Efficient and cost-effective FCPA research is just a click away. This previous post went in-depth into the $238 million DOJ Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Netherlands-based SBM Offshore for alleged bribery schemes in Brazil, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan and Iraq.This post continues the analysis by highlighting additional issues to consider.DOJ Explains Its Original “Declination”As highlighted in the original post, in 2014 SBM Offshore resolved a $240 million Dutch law enforcement action alleging bribery schemes in Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Brazil between 2007 through 2011. In connection with that action, SBM Offshore disclosed: “the United States Department of Justice has informed SBM Offshore that it is not prosecuting the Company and has closed its inquiry into the matter.”In last week’s enforcement action, the DOJ explained:“[A]lthough the Fraud Section initially declined to continue investigating the Company, it communicated that this declination was based on the findings of the Company’s investigation and the facts known to the Fraud Section at the time, and that there was no apparent jurisdiction at that point in time, but that the Fraud Section reserved the right to reopen the investigation if it learned of additional information or evidence that established U.S. jurisdiction;[T]he Fraud Section informed the Company in 2016 that it was reopening the investigation because the Fraud Section learned additional information that was not uncovered during the Company’s investigation, and not known to either the Company or the Fraud Section at the time of the declination; specifically, that a United States-based executive of one of SBM’s wholly-owned domestic concerns managed a significant portion of the corrupt scheme, and engaged in conduct within the jurisdiction of the United States.”In other words, the DOJ’s original “declination” was due to the lack of a required legal element being satisfied. In any event, the SBM Offshore enforcement action is instructive in that just because the DOJ may originally back off an enforcement action, doesn’t mean that the inquiry can’t be resurrected based on new information.Jurisdictional IssueRelated to the above topic, how did the DOJ establish jurisdiction over Netherlands-based SBM Offshore?As alluded to above, it appears to have been based on the conduct of one individual. Indeed, the “overt acts” portion of the SBM Offshore information contains no explicit U.S. jurisdictional allegations other than the generic statement that “SBM Offshore, by and through SBM USA, and SBM USA’s executives and employees, including Zubiate, agreed that [an intermediary] would pay bribes to Petrobras officials.”Zubiate of course is Robert Zubiate, a U.S. citizen, who was a former Texas and California-based sales and marketing executive at SBM USA, who was criminally charged last month. (See here for the prior post).Lack of TIMELY Voluntary DisclosureSet forth below is what the DOJ said in the “relevant considerations” portion of the SBM Offshore DPA.“the Company did not receive voluntary disclosure credit because, although it voluntarily brought the conduct to the attention of the Fraud Section and to Dutch authorities, the disclosure did not occur for approximately one year and thus was not timely.”Too Lenient?The conduct at issue in the SBM Offshore enforcement action was egregious. In the words of the DOJ, the conduct:“lasted over 16 years, was carried out by employees at the highest level of the organization, including two high-level executives who were at times directors of a wholly-owned U.S. domestic concern, involved large bribe payments, and included deliberate efforts to conceal the scheme.”Reflective of this egregious conduct, the DPA sets forth an advisory guidelines range of $4.5 billion to $9.02 billion. Yet, the total criminal penalty was a “mere” $238 million. In explaining this, the DOJ stated:“The Company and the United States agree that this penalty is appropriate given the facts and circumstances of this case … and in consideration of imposing a penalty that will avoid substantially jeopardizing the continued viability of the Company. In determining the appropriate penalty amount, the Offices have credited the company’s disgorgement of $200 million in profits to the Netherlands, payment of a $40 million fine to the Netherlands, and the amount provisioned for by the Company in connection its ongoing efforts to reach resolution in Brazil, because that fine, disgorgement, and payment arise out of some of the conduct [alleged].”Elsewhere, the DOJ stated that it “determined that a subsidiary guilty plea, a parent-level deferred prosecution agreement, and an aggregate discount of 25% off of the bottom of the the otherwise-applicable U.S. Sentencing Guidelines fine range is sufficient but not greater than necessary …”.Math has never been my strength, but I fail to see how $238 million represents 25% off of the bottom of the guidelines range ($4.5 billion).Things of ValuePart of what made the SBM Offshore enforcement action egregious is that it involved “at least $180 million” in alleged corrupt commission payments to intermediaries for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business in various countries.Yet, the DOJ also alleged a wide variety of other things of value allegedly provided to foreign officials including the following:Jewelry and electronicsPayment “for foreign officials’ travel to sporting events and provided these foreign officials with cash of $1,000 or more as “spending money.””The provision of luxury goods like watches and sports memorabilia, and shipping vehicles to Equatorial Guinea. For example … an SBM employee approved an expense report seeking reimbursement for hundreds of Euros in gifts he had purchased. The report included handwritten, coded notes indicating that certain gifts were for Equatorial Guinean officials. […] [An executive and employee] discussed shipping a BMW X5 from Belgium to a GEPetrol official in Equatorial Guinea.”Payment for the tuition and living expenses of foreign officials’ relatives, and employed foreign officials’ relatives, including some relatives who did not perform satisfactorily for the positions held or were overpaid for the work performed.As to the later, the DOJ alleged: “For example, in or around 2000, SBM hired the daughter of a Sonusa official as a cashier in their Monaco office, and overpaid her for the work she performed, including agreeing to pay her a salary and half of her rent. Later, [SBM executives] agreed to have SBM assist her in purchasing an apartment. Additionally, in 2010, SBM USA hired the son of a Sonangol official as an administrative intern, a position he kept until 2014, despite the fact that he did not satisfactorily perform in that position.”Statute of LimitationsAs egregious as the overall alleged conduct was in the SBM Offshore enforcement action, there is still this thing called statute of limitations that are important bedrock legal principle.In this regard, it is hard not to notice that the November 2017 enforcement action was based on conduct beyond any conceivable statute of limitations period. For instance, the “overt acts” alleged in the SBM Offshore conspiracy concern conduct between 1996 and January 2012. In other words, nearly approximately 20 years prior to the enforcement action with the bulk of the alleged overt acts taking place approximately 10-15 years ago.But then again, statute of limitations are of little significance when the company under investigation agrees to waive statute of limitations defenses and/or otherwise toll the statute of limitations.Red FlagAs highlighted above, the bulk of the alleged improper conduct involved “at least $180 million” in alleged corrupt commission payments to intermediaries for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business in various countries.It is nearly always a red flag when agents request that their commission payments be split and paid to separate accounts.In this regard, the information alleges that, at a third-party’s request, SBM “typically split its “commission” payments to [the third party] into two accounts, transferring one portion to bank accounts in Brazil … and another, larger, portion of its “commission” to bank accounts in Switzerland held in the names of [the third party’s] shell companies.” The information further alleges that “SBM USA understood that the purpose of splitting payments [to the third party] was to facilitate the payment of bribes.”ConcealmentThe information alleges that “executives and employees at SBM used personal e-mail accounts to receive this confidential information.” Elsewhere, the information alleges:“SBM USA, through its executives, employees and agents, and through SBM and SBM’s executives, employees, and agents, and together with others, undertook acts to conceal the bribery scheme, such as using codes to refer to foreign officials who received bribes, communicating using methods of communications, such as personal e-mail accounts and faxes, which would leave no trace on SBM’s servers, and destroying confidential information.”As highlighted in this recent post about the DOJ’s new “FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy,” compared to previous DOJ guidance on timely and appropriate remediation, there is a new business records provision which states:“Appropriate retention of business records, and prohibiting the improper destruction or deletion of business records, including prohibiting employees from using software that generates but does not appropriately retain business records or communications.” Elevate Your Researchlast_img read more

What You Need To Know From Q4

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first_img FCPA Institute – Boston (Oct. 3-4) A unique two-day learning experience ideal for a diverse group of professionals seeking to elevate their FCPA knowledge and practical skills through active learning. Learn more, spend less. CLE credit is available. Learn More & Register This post provides a summary of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement activity and related developments from the fourth quarter of 2017. (See here for a similar post for the first quarter of 2017, here for the second quarter of 2017, and here for the third quarter of 2017).DOJ Enforcement (Corporate)The DOJ brought 2 corporate FCPA enforcement actions in the fourth quarter. DOJ recovery in these enforcement actions was $343.5 million (after accounting for various credits and deductions for contemplated related foreign law enforcement actions). Both of these actions also included related DOJ individual FCPA enforcement actions.Keppel Offshore & Marine (Dec. 22nd)See here, here and here for prior postsCharges: Criminal information as to Keppel Offshore & Marine US (KOM USA) charging conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions; criminal information as to Keppel (KOM) charging conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisionsResolution Vehicle: As to KOM USA, plea agreement; as to KOM deferred prosecution agreementGuidelines Range: $563 million to $1.1 billionSettlement: $422 million reduced to $105.5 million after accounting for various credits for law enforcement actions in Singapore and BrazilOrigin: Foreign law enforcement actionMonitor: NoIndividuals Charged by DOJ: YesSBM Offshore (Nov. 29th)See here, here and here for prior postsCharges: Criminal information as to SBM Offshore USA Inc. (SBM USA) charging conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions; criminal information as to SBM Offshore charging conspiracy to violate the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisionsResolution Vehicle: As to SBM USA, plea agreement; as to SBM Offshore deferred prosecution agreementGuidelines Range: $4.5 billion to $9.0 billionSettlement: $238 millionOrigin: Voluntary disclosure (the DPA states: the Company did not receive voluntary disclosure credit because, although it voluntarily brought the conduct to the attention of the Fraud Section and to Dutch authorities, the disclosure did not occur for approximately one year and thus was not timely)Monitor: NoIndividuals Charged by DOJ: YesDOJ Enforcement (Individual)The DOJ brought or announced 5 core enforcement actions against 11 individuals in fourth quarter.As highlighted here, in connection with the Keppel Offshore & Marine enforcement action, the DOJ also charged Jeffrey Chow, a former senior manager of Keppel’s legal department, with conspiracy to violate the FCPA.As highlighted here, related to a portion of the 2016 FCPA enforcement action against Embraer, the DOJ announced an enforcement action against former Embraer executive Colin Steven concerning conduct in Saudi Arabia.As highlighted here, the DOJ announced an enforcement action Chi Ping Patrick Ho and Cheikh Gadio concerning conduct in Chad an Uganda.As highlighted here, the DOJ announced an enforcement action against former SBM Offshore executives Anthony Mace and Robert Zubiate concerning conduct in Brazil, Angola and Equatorial Guinea.As highlighted here, related to the January 2017 FCPA enforcement action against Rolls-Royce, the DOJ announced an enforcement action against various individuals associated with Rolls-Royce (Keith Barnett, Andreas Kohler, James Finley, Aloysius Zuurhout, and Petros Contoguris) concerning conduct in Kazakhstan.SEC Enforcement (Corporate)The SEC did not bring any enforcement actions in the fourth quarter.SEC Enforcement (Individual)The SEC did not bring any enforcement actions in the fourth quarter.Other Developments or Items of InterestAs highlighted in this post, the FCPA turned 40.As highlighted here, the DOJ announced a new “FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy” (CEP) “aimed at providing additional benefits to companies based on their corporate behavior once they learn of misconduct.” This post rounds up eleven separate posts regarding the CEP and this article is titled “Grading the DOJ’s FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy.”As highlighted here, Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco delivered a recent FCPA speech and as highlighted here Steven Peikin (Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division) recently reflected on the past, present, and future of the SEC’s enforcement of the FCPA.As highlighted here, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein’s speech concerning multiple law enforcement and regulatory agencies pursuing a single entity for the same conduct is FCPA relevant. As highlighted in this post, Rosenstein stated: “corporate enforcement and settlement demands must always have a sound basis in the evidence and the law. We should never use the threat of federal enforcement unfairly to extract settlements.” Talk to FCPA practitioners and in-house counsel and many will tell you in a candid private moment that FCPA enforcement is often viewed in this way.As highlighted in this post, FCPA “tips” continue to be a minor component of the SEC’s whistleblower program.As highlighted in this post, (Walmart Executive V.P. and Global Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer) recently delivered a keynote address at “The FCPA at 40” symposium hosted by Texas A&M University School of Law. Jorgensen talked about the transformation of Walmart’s ethics and compliance program with a focus on anti-corruption and specifically discussed: Walmart’s approach to: third-party due diligence and payments; licenses and permits; donations and charitable contributions; financial controls; and enhanced training.As highlighted in this post, the government of Canada announced that the exception allowing for facilitation payments under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act will be eliminated effective October 31, 2017.last_img read more

Researchers discover how key brain receptor can function in hostile environment

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first_img Source:https://www.cshl.edu/ May 7 2018During a stroke or an epileptic seizure, neurons in affected parts of the brain fire at an abnormally rapid rate. One byproduct of this condition is that the pH of the brain drops markedly, rendering the local environment inhospitably acidic.Using a powerful microscopy method called cryo-EM, biologists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have discovered how one key element of brain physiology, a docking port for excitatory neurotransmitters called the NMDA receptor, is able to function in this hostile environment.A team led by CSHL Professor Hiro Furukawa has published high-resolution images of a variant of the NMDA receptor that is adapted to functioning at low pH. “We’ve known for at least 20 years that different types of NMDA receptors work distinctly, especially in an acidified environment created by seizure and stroke,” says Furukawa. “Until now, we haven’t understood the underlying molecular mechanism.”Related StoriesMercy Medical Center adds O-arm imaging system to improve spinal surgery resultsReceptor in the uterus can detect sperm molecule, aids in sperm survivalChemotherapy drugs delivered using biodegradable paste can prolong survival in brain cancerNMDA receptors sit on the membrane of excitatory neurons, where they form pores and control electrical signals by “gating” the flow of electrically charged atoms, or ions, in and out. NMDA receptors are active when the brain is learning and forming new memories. Malfunctions of the receptor are thought to be involved in a range of illnesses including neurodegenerative diseases, pain, depression and schizophrenia.Furukawa’s team shows how NMDA receptors can vary slightly in their protein makeup thanks to a cellular mechanism called alternative splicing–a process that enables a single gene to generate distinct variants of a single protein. One “splice variant” of the receptor that is present in the brain turns out to be less sensitive than other versions to an acidic environment.The NMDA receptor is what scientists call a tetramer – think of it as a tube composed of four proteins that connects the inside of a neuron with the outside environment. The four proteins are intertwined in such a way that they leave an open space running through their center – the ion channel.The four proteins of the receptor come in two sets of two – “subunits” called GluN1 and GluN2. Furukawa’s team imaged a variant of the receptor in which a portion of the GluN1 subunit is altered slightly. This alteration changes the architecture of the receptor, by drawing the GluN1 and GluN2 subunits into a tighter embrace. This, in turn, alters an interface with a part of the larger structure where a pH sensor is located.The result is that the entire receptor becomes less sensitive to changes in pH. “We’ve learned from nature how this receptor is able to remain intact and function when the environment turns hostile,” says Furukawa. “Research like this informs efforts to create therapeutics that address malfunctions in this important receptor.”last_img read more

New method generates detailed 3D images of the bodys cancer cells

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first_imgMay 16 2018Making tumor cells glow: Medical physicists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have developed a new method that can generate detailed three-dimensional images of the body’s interior. This can be used to more closely investigate the development of cancer cells in the body. The research group presents its findings in Communication Physics, a journal published by the Nature Publishing Group.Clinicians and scientists are in need of a better understanding of cancer cells and their properties in order to provide targeted cancer treatment. Individual cancer cells are often examined in test tubes before the findings are tested in living organisms. “Our aim is to visualize cancer cells inside the living body to find out how they function, how they spread and how they react to new therapies,” says medical physicist Professor Jan Laufer from MLU. He specialises in the field of photoacoustic imaging, a process that uses ultrasound waves generated by laser beams to produce high-resolution, three-dimensional images of the body’s interior.Related StoriesStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerSugary drinks linked to cancer finds study”The problem is that tumor cells are transparent. This makes it difficult to use optical methods to examine tumours in the body,” explains Laufer whose research group has developed a new method to solve this problem: First the scientists introduce a specific gene into the genome of the cancer cells. “Once inside the cells, the gene produces a phytochrome protein, which originates from plants and bacteria. There it serves as a light sensor,” Laufer continues. In the next step, the researchers illuminate the tissue with short pulses of light at two different wavelengths using a laser. Inside the body, the light pulses are absorbed and converted into ultrasonic waves. These waves can then be measured outside the organism and two images of the body’s interior can be reconstructed based on this data. “The special feature of phytochrome proteins is that they alter their structure and thus also their absorption properties depending on the wavelength of the laser beams. This results in changes to the amplitude of the ultrasound waves that are generated in the tumor cells. None of the other tissue components, for example blood vessels, have this property – their signal remains constant,” Laufer says. By calculating the difference between the two images, a high-resolution, three-dimensional image of the tumor cells is created, which is free of the otherwise overwhelming background contrast.The development of Halle’s medical physicists can be applied to a wide range of applications in the preclinical research and the life sciences. In addition to cancer research, the method can be used to observe cellular and genetic processes in living organisms. Source:http://pressemitteilungen.pr.uni-halle.de/index.php?modus=pmanzeige&pm_id=2875last_img read more

Study Macrophages play key role in maintaining stem cell niche of mammary

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first_img Source:https://www.princeton.edu/news/2018/05/17/immune-cell-provides-cradle-mammary-stem-cells May 18 2018A new study finds that one of the toughest characters in the immune system, the macrophage, has a nurturing side, at least when it comes to guarding the developing breast.The study published online this week in the journal Science found that macrophages play an important role in maintaining the mammary gland’s stem cell niche, a sort of nursery for the precursors of milk-producing cells in the breast.”Learning more about the factors that keep mammary stem cells alive and healthy may provide insights into the development of breast cancer when such regulation goes awry,” said Yibin Kang, the Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University and an associate director of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, who led the international team that made the discovery. “Our study establishes macrophages as important components of the mammary stem cell niche,” he said.Stem cells are cells that have the potential to mature, or differentiate, into several different types of cells. Mammary stem cells shepherd breast development during puberty and are active during pregnancy and lactation.The team found that the macrophage, a type of white blood cell whose name translates to “big eater” because it fights infection by engulfing foreign invaders, helps create a special environment, known as a stem-cell niche, that keeps stem cells in their premature state and able to duplicate and differentiate into mature cells when needed.Stem cells come in various types, from ones that are already committed to develop into certain organs as in the mammary glands, to ones that can form nearly any cell in the body. These cells may also become cancerous, leading to tumors and eventually to the spread of cancer to other organs.To better understand how mammary stem cells regulate breast development — and how they might turn cancerous — the researchers studied how macrophages interact with mammary stem cells via molecular signaling mechanisms.These signaling mechanisms involve a protein called Notch, which acts as a receptor for a signaling molecule called Dll1. Previous research in the Kang lab found that mammary stem cells make a lot of Dll1. In the current study, researchers knocked out the Dll1 gene in mice and found that there is a significant delay in breast development during puberty as well as delayed breast expansion during pregnancy and lactation. Furthermore, the number of mammary stem cells was reduced both during mammary gland development and during pregnancy. Meanwhile, mice with the Dll1 gene intact contained mammary glands with a greater ability to regenerate and to differentiate into mature mammary cells compared to the Dll1-knockout mice.Related StoriesStudy: Megakaryocytes play an important role in cell migrationSlug serves as ‘command central’ for determining breast stem cell healthAlternate cell growth pathway could open door to new treatments for metastatic cancersThe mice lacking Dll1 also had fewer macrophage cells in their mammary glands. The researchers found that the binding of Dll1 to Notch2 and Notch3 receptors is important for keeping the number of macrophages high in the mammary stem cell niche, and important for keeping the mammary cells in their stem-cell state.The researchers also found that the presence of Dll1 is linked to the expression of genes for another signaling pathway involving a molecule called Wnt. The expression of Dll1 caused the macrophages to express genes for Wnt3, 10 and 16, which further enhanced the stem-cell behavior of the mammary stem cells. When the researchers used genetic or chemical methods to inactivate the macrophages in the mammary glands of mice, the mammary stem cell activity decreased.”We conclude that the signaling molecule Dll1, which is produced by the mammary stem cells, activates the signal in macrophages to sustain the mammary stem cells,” Kang said. “The survival and function of these mammary stem cells and the macrophages are dependent on each other and they communicate through these cellular messaging systems.”The first author and co-corresponding author on the study was Rumela Chakrabarti, who was a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton and is now an assistant professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.”The ‘Notch-Wnt crosstalk’ that occurs at the mammary stem cell niche is crucial for the development of the mammary gland,” Chakrabarti said, “and this crosstalk may have implications in breast cancer as both these signaling pathways are aberrantly increased in breast cancer.”Jeffrey Rosen, who is the C.C. Bell Professor, Vice-Chair of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Distinguished Service Professor at Baylor College of Medicine, and who was not directly involved in the study, said, “The study by Yibin Kang and colleagues helps expand our knowledge about the role of macrophages in mammary gland development first demonstrated by other research groups almost two decades ago and more recently by researchers who found that macrophages influence stem-cell activity in the mammary gland.”The study also raises several questions about the specific roles of multiple Wnt molecules expressed in mammary cells and surrounding cells as well as in tissue-resident macrophages in mammary stem cells,” he said. “These studies on normal mammary gland development may provide important clues about the roles of macrophages in breast cancer progression.”last_img read more

Researchers find potential therapeutic target for treating obesity and diabetes

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first_img Source:http://www.ucdenver.edu/ Aug 10 2018A newly published study by researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine has identified a potential therapeutic target for treating obesity and diabetes.The scientists studied the biological function of an epigenetic modifier known as histone deacetylase 11 (HDAC11), and determined that deleting it in mice stimulates the formation of brown adipose tissue. The absence of HDAC11 also triggered beiging of white adipose tissue. These changes are important because white adipose tissue stores energy, while brown adipose tissue produces heat, thus expending energy. These findings reveal a regulatory node that could lead to the development of a pharmaceutical-based therapy for obesity and metabolic disease based on increasing energy expenditure.Related StoriesObese patients with Type 1 diabetes could safely receive robotic pancreas transplantUTHealth researchers investigate how to reduce stress-driven alcohol useResearch team receives federal grant to study obesity in children with spina bifidaThe details of the study are published in the August 9 edition of JCI Insight, a journal published by the American Society for Clinical Investigation.The first author of the study is Rushita A. Bagchi, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Timothy A. McKinsey, PhD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology, who is the corresponding author of the article. Both are part of the Consortium for Fibrosis Research & Translation, a program funded by the School of Medicine to improve understanding of fibrotic diseases across various organ systems.”The findings uncovered a druggable transcriptional pathway for regulation of energy expenditure, and thus suggest novel approaches for combating the global pandemics of obesity and diabetes based on HDAC11 inhibition,” said McKinsey.Obesity is an increasingly common health problem, with more than one-third of the U.S. population considered obese. Obesity and associated chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, are projected to affect more than a half billion adults worldwide by 2040. Mice lacking HDAC11 were protected from obesity, insulin resistance and other effects of high-fat feeding. The findings suggest a previously unrecognized role for HDAC11, and an associated protein known as BRD2, in the control of adipose tissue.”Through our investigation we found that inhibiting HDAC11 increases energy expenditure, which highlights its potential as a target in obesity and metabolic disease therapeutic strategies,” said McKinsey. “We now need to test the role of HDAC11 in large animal models of metabolic disease and in human cell systems as we attempt to translate these exciting findings to the clinic.”Seventeen authors were listed on the article, “HDAC11 suppresses the thermogenic program of adipose tissue via BRD2.” Nine of the authors are members of the CU School of Medicine. The research was supported with funding from the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.last_img read more

Are your bacteria jetlagged

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first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Life on Earth is intimately connected to the natural cycles of light and dark that make up a 24-hour day. For plants, animals, and even bacteria, these circadian rhythms control many biological functions. Humans can overrule their body clocks, but at a price: People whose circadian rhythms are regularly disrupted—by frequent jet lag or shift work, for example—are more vulnerable to diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. There are various theories to explain these associations, and researchers now have a new player to consider: the bacteria that live in the digestive tract. According to a study in mice and a small group of human volunteers, the internal clocks of these gut microbes sync up with the clocks of their hosts. When our circadian rhythms get out of whack, so do those of our bacteria.The last several years have seen an explosion of interest in the constellation of bacteria that call the gut home, and these microbes appear to play a role in everything from immunity to metabolism to mood. But although disrupted bacteria are observed in many of the same diseases that arise from skewed circadian rhythms, the precise link isn’t fully understood. Eran Elinav, an immunologist and microbiome specialist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, wondered whether the microbes’ own circadian rhythms were a missing piece of the puzzle.  To test the theory, he and his colleagues analyzed bacteria in fecal samples from lab mice kept in normal 12-hour cycles of light and darkness. Samples were taken every 6 hours for two 24-hour cycles. Up to 60% of the microbes consisted of various bacterial types that fluctuated, in both their total number and their prevalence relative to each other, throughout the day and night. During the dark phase (when mice, being nocturnal, are most active), the bacteria were busy digesting nutrients, repairing their DNA, and growing, as evidenced by the various bacterial gene activity documented from fecal samples taken at different time points. During the light phase, microbes went about ongoing “housekeeping” processes, such as detoxifying, sensing the chemicals around them, and building the flagella, or tails, that help the microbes move. center_img Email In mice with a mutation that disables the inner clock, the gut bacteria didn’t exhibit the same fluctuations, in either population or activity, in response to light and dark—suggesting that the animal’s clock somehow controls that of the bacteria.  When bacteria from these “clockless” mice were transplanted into healthy animals living in normal light-dark conditions, the microbes began to show normal rhythms within a week.The findings, reported online yesterday in Cell, came as a surprise, Elinav says. Previous studies have shown that many bacteria do have light-responsive circadian clocks—cyanobacteria, for example, which get their energy from photosynthesis. But microbes deep in the bowels of—well, the bowels—spend all their time in the dark. How did they know what time of day it was? Some signal must pass from the host to the bacteria.One major difference between normal mice and clock-disabled ones was the time at which the animals ate, the researchers observed. Normal mice eat at night, while they’re active; the clockless mice ate almost continuously. So could the timing of meals be the signal? When the researchers altered the animals’ eating patterns by feeding normal mice only during the light cycle (a mouse’s night), the numbers, types, and activity of the bacteria shifted as well. The researchers also found that mice whose light-dark cycles were disrupted gained weight and developed physiological changes linked to diabetes, such as insulin resistance. Because humans with irregular sleeping patterns also tend to eat more at night, the researchers suspect that these eating habits contribute to disease specifically by disrupting the gut microbes.  Bacteria are likely not the whole story; irregular sleeping and eating can contribute to disease through other routes, such as excess stress hormone and insulin production. Even so, “this is a compelling study,” says microbiologist Rob Knight of the University of Colorado, Boulder. Knight says some of the strongest evidence for a bacterial role in circadian-linked diseases lies in the final phase of the study, when the research team analyzed fecal samples from two people on a normal schedule and two more who had recently flown from the United States to Israel. Analyzing the samples before, during, and after the bouts of jet lag, they found fluctuations in bacteria similar to what they saw in the mice. The jet-lagged participants showed an increase in a type of bacteria known to be more prevalent in people with obesity and diabetes; levels of these microbes dropped back to normal once the travelers adjusted to the new time zone.Most convincing of all, Knight believes, is that when samples of gut bacteria from the jet-lagged humans were transplanted into healthy mice, the animals gained weight, showed increased blood sugar, and had a higher body fat content compared with animals given the bacteria of participants before their flight.  So can we ward off the ill effects of jet lag by being more careful about how or when we eat? At this point, “it’s an educated guess,” Elinav says.last_img read more

Astronomers find five new superstars

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first_imgKISSIMMEE, FLORIDA—Eta Carinae is a true superstar. The stellar system of two orbiting stars shines brighter than 5 million suns. In the 1840s, it brightened even more to become the second brightest star in the sky. This outburst, known at the time as the Great Eruption, saw the stars eject material equivalent to 10 whole suns, which can now be seen in Hubble Space Telescope images like the one above as the Homunculus Nebula. Astronomers have long searched for similar large and luminous stars but have drawn a blank in our Milky Way. Now, a team has trawled through the archives of NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes to search other nearby galaxies and, as they told the American Astronomical Society meeting here today, they have for the first time found five analogs of Eta Carinae. To spot them they identified three key features in Eta Carinae’s spectral energy distribution—how much energy it emits at different wavelengths. They came away empty handed after an initial survey of seven galaxies in 2012–14, but struck gold in another survey last year. In the galaxy M83, for example, among hundreds of billions of stars, they found a few hundred that were similarly bright at infrared wavelengths to Eta Carinae and two that matched it closely. The work underlines just how rare this type of massive star is, but now that the team has more examples to study they hope to learn more about how these giants burn, explode, and create heavy elements for future generations of stars and planets.last_img read more

Special series on the new Congress Meet entrepreneur lawyer and engineer Raja

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first_imgTuesday: Representative Jodey Arrington (R–TX), who directed commercial activity at a major university, expanding its research capacityToday: Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D–IL), who ran a university startup begun by an academic with an entrepreneurial bentThursday: Representative Ro Khanna (D–CA), who defeated fellow Democratic Representative Mike Honda in the race to represent a district in the heart of Silicon ValleyFriday: Honda discusses what he learned in his 16 years in Congress.Krishnamoorthi used engineering, law degrees to run university spinoff  A political fundraiser may be an odd place to find someone to run a company that helps commercialize university research. But after meeting an aspiring Illinois politician named Raja Krishnamoorthi at a 2010 event for U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D–IL), physicist Siva Sivananthan knew he had found the right person to be president of Sivananthan Laboratories.Krishnamoorthi is a Harvard University–trained lawyer, not an academic. But he holds an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Princeton University. He jokes that his father, a professor of industrial engineering at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, strongly suggested that “I could study anything I wanted—I could be a mechanical engineer, a civil engineer, an industrial engineer, [or] an electrical engineer.”That background meant “he knew a little science,” says Sivananthan, a serial entrepreneur who directs the microphysics laboratory at the University of Illinois in Chicago. “I was looking for someone with good leadership skills, who could figure out who we should partner with and make the right decisions without being bogged down by the bias of someone who created the technology.” Both are also Tamil-Americans: Sivananthan was born in Sri Lanka and Krishnamoorthi in India.Krishnamoorthi was running for state comptroller at the time. But after losing in the Democratic primary—“I took the silver medal,” he likes to say—he accepted Sivananthan’s job offer. He has spent the past 6-plus years tailoring the infrared sensor technology that Sivananthan had pioneered in his lab for a variety of applications, with help from a federal research program that funds such startups. (He was also president of Episolar Inc., another Sivananthan spinoff using the same molecular beam epitaxy technology to grow mercury cadmium telluride crystals that are exquisitely sensitive to infrared radiation.)But next month the 43-year-old Democrat will start a new job: as a member of the 115th Congress replacing Representative Tammy Duckworth, who defeated incumbent Republican Mark Kirk for a seat in the U.S. Senate. (Krishnamoorthi first ran for Congress in 2012, losing to Duckworth in the Democratic primary.)At Princeton, Krishnamoorthi focused on engineering, but was also intrigued by government, so he pursued both paths to graduation in 1995. “My family definitely got its money’s worth: I did the full coursework for engineering, and got a certificate in public policy,” he says.By then Krishnamoorthi had already dipped his toes into the political waters, stuffing envelopes for Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 presidential campaign as a college freshman. Soon he was hooked: While in law school he worked on Barack Obama’s failed attempt to oust Representative Bobby Rush in the Democratic primary, and after joining Kirkland & Ellis’s Chicago office he also served in the unpaid position of issues director in Obama’s successful run for the U.S. Senate. “We did research, wrote speeches, and tried to educate him on the issues,” he says. “He was a very quick study.”Obama’s victory in 2004 “opened my eyes to the possibility of running myself someday,” he says. “I was always a little skeptical of how voters would react to my name.” Indeed, in his failed 2010 bid for state comptroller, his campaign manager told local media that “we’ll call him Raja—it’s much easier.”A focus on the economyThis year, Krishnamoorthi’s background and message struck a chord with voters in his suburban Chicago district, home to one of the largest Indian-American communities in the country. “Pocketbook and economic issues is pretty much all I campaigned on,” he says.His stance on many social issues falls comfortably into the liberal camp: strengthening and improving the Affordable Care Act, supporting a path to citizenship for young immigrants (the so-called DREAM Act), expanding Pell Grants for low-income college students, and starting an infrastructure bank to repair aging facilities and boost local economies. He co-founded InSPIRE, an Illinois nonprofit organization that trains students and veterans in solar technology. And though he rose to partner doing corporate law for Kirkland & Ellis, he left in 2007 to work for the public integrity unit of the attorney general for the state of Illinois.His work with Sivananthan Labs gave him a front-row seat on understanding the importance of federal investments in research as a driver of the nation’s economic well-being, he says. “The most important thing is to recognize that research is our seed corn. It’s a national security priority,” he says. “It’s not just a way to have enough going on that graduate students can do their Ph.D.s and scientists can publish. We have to do research or we’ll fall behind the rest of the world.”China’s growing investment in molecular beam epitaxy is a prime example, he says. “And the reason I know is that we keep track of who buys the equipment for doing the research in this area,” he says. “Our vendors have let us know that China is buying lots of these machines, which cost millions of dollars apiece.”Krishnamoorthi also backs the federal government’s efforts to support research by small firms. His companies have received several grants from the Small Business Innovative Research program, which is funded by a tax on existing research funds at a dozen federal agencies. Many academics have opposed its growth over the years, saying it diverts money from higher quality research proposals. But Krishnamoorthi rejects that argument and strongly defends the program’s value.“I think some of the criticism is rooted in self-interest,” he asserts. “There are some incumbent players who believe they should get the money. But these are not sweetheart deals by any stretch. Everything is peer reviewed. Also, the small businesses have to do a lot of cost sharing, which I think is how it should be. A lot of these critics have probably never started a small business and don’t know the difficulties of growing one.”Overall, he’d like to see the federal government invest more in basic research. At the same time, he says that policymakers need to find a way to boost science without adding to the budget deficit. “We need to find a place from which that additional money will come, aside from borrowing. So it may mean cutting some other expenditures, or finding fees or something else to pay for it.” Republicans retained control of both houses of Congress in last month’s election. But that doesn’t mean the 115th Congress that convenes on 3 January is identical to its predecessor.Fifty-six new members of the House of Representatives will take their seats (42 Republicans and 14 Democrats) along with four new Senators (three Democrats and one Republican). Although none has a science Ph.D., a few have significant ties to the research community.This week, ScienceInsider is profiling three new members of the House with research connections, and one friend of science who is leaving. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Emailcenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

How to make a cave fish in just a few thousand years

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first_imgHow to make a cave fish in just a few thousand years By Virginia MorellApr. 3, 2017 , 12:00 PM How long does it take for a cave fish to evolve from an open-water swimmer? Only a few thousand years, according to a new study. Scientists used to think that ice age glaciers covering northern Europe had prevented fish from colonizing the continents’ caves. Such species were thought to live no farther north than Pennsylvania’s Nippenose Valley. But a new cave-dwelling fish discovered in southern Germany 2 years ago is turning that assumption on its head. The pale, tiny fish with long, whiskerlike barbs sprouting from its head (above) is a new species of loach, as yet unnamed. It’s also the first cave fish to be found in Europe, 760 kilometers farther north than those in Pennsylvania. Until 12,000 years ago, Europe and its caves were buried beneath glacial ice, which blocked any connection between above- and underground waterways. But as the glaciers retreated, sinkholes and springs formed around Germany’s upper Danube, connecting the river to extensive caves and streams 250 kilometers below. Some fish made their way in, becoming smaller, with pale scaleless bodies, large nostrils, and tiny eyes—all adaptations for living in the dark, the scientists report in today’s issue of Current Biology. Based on their genetic analysis, the scientists say the cave loach is a close relative of the darkly mottled stone loach, which is twice the size of the cave fish, and still swims in the sunny, open waters of the Danube River.last_img read more

Top stories Crayfish clones happy lab animals and the worlds smallest 3D

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first_imgFor decades, lab animals such as rodents and fish have lived in barren enclosures: a small plastic box, few—if any—companions, and little else. The smaller the number of variables, the thinking went, the greater the accuracy of the experiment. But a growing number of studies suggests that this approach may have backfired. Only one in nine drugs that works in animals ever succeeds in human clinical trials, and labs often struggle to reproduce one another’s results. Could the environment these creatures live in be part of the problem? A group of advocates think that the answer is yes.Nasty U.S. flu season continues to intensifyIt’s week 11 of a flu season that may only be half over, and a wave of influenza across the entire United States has led to an alarmingly high number of sick people. In the last week of January, 7.1% of all outpatient visits were for what’s classified as influenzalike illness, said Anne Schuchat, acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. That was a jump of 0.5% from the preceding week, indicating that this year’s flu may not have peaked yet.Major mental illnesses unexpectedly share brain gene activity, raising hope for better diagnostics and therapiesMental illness affects one in six U.S. adults, but scientists’ sense of the underlying biology of most psychiatric disorders remains nebulous. Now, however, a large-scale analysis of postmortem brains is revealing distinctive molecular traces in people with mental illness. An international team of researchers reports that five major psychiatric disorders have patterns of gene activity that often overlap but also vary in disease-specific—and sometimes counterintuitive—ways. The findings, they say, might someday lead to diagnostic tests and novel therapies. One has already inspired a clinical trial of a new way to treat overactive brain cells in autism.World’s tiniest 3D glasses reveal how praying mantises see the worldPraying mantises are the only invertebrates known to see in 3D. The predatory insects excel at detecting prey that comes within striking distance, but—unlike us—their depth perception only works when the prey is moving. Scientists figured that out by gluing the world’s tiniest 3D glasses on praying mantises and showing them a series of 3D movies. It’s the first time this kind of 3D vision has been found in nature, and it’s yet another example of evolution coming up with different solutions to the same problem—in this case, when to strike at a passing fly. An aquarium accident may have given this crayfish the DNA to take over the worldIt sounds like a bad monster movie plot: a 10-legged mutant creature that reproduces asexually, escapes from confinement in Germany, and quietly begins a global invasion. Within 2 decades, clones of the voracious animal spread through Europe and Africa, bringing devastation to ecosystems and threatening native species. That appears to be the strange-but-true story of the marbled crayfish, an invasive freshwater species suspected to have been created through a reproductive accident in an aquarium around 1995. A new analysis of the crustacean’s genome supports this unlikely origin and may help explain how the animal has subsequently spread and adapted to so many new environments.Are happy lab animals better for science? (Left to right): Mike Urwin/Newcastle University; CNRI/SCIENCE SOURCE; AUSTIN THOMASON/MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY Top stories: Crayfish clones, happy lab animals, and the world’s smallest 3D glasses Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Katie LanginFeb. 9, 2018 , 2:35 PM Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

Venus flytraps kill with chemicals like those from lightning bolts

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first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Richard A. LovettNov. 12, 2018 , 10:45 AM Email Venus flytraps kill with chemicals like those from lightning bolts Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country PORTLAND, OREGON—Venus flytraps have a well-known way of dispatching their victims: They snare inquisitive insects that brush up against trigger hairs in their fly-trapping pods (above). But now, physicists have discovered that the triggering process may involve the release of a cascade of exotic chemicals similar to the whiff of ozone that tingles your nose after a lightning bolt.To study this process, scientists used an electrical generator to ionize air into a “cold plasma,” which they then gently blew toward a flytrap in their lab.Normally, the flytrap’s closure is caused by an electrical signal created when two or more trigger hairs are brushed. But highly reactive chemicals in the plasma stream such as hydrogen peroxide, nitric oxide, and ozone had the same effect, even when they were blown at the pods too gently to trigger them by motion, they reported here last week at the annual Gaseous Electronics Conference. markgoddard/iStockPhoto Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) It’s a useful finding because the types of reactive oxygen and nitrogen molecules in cold plasmas play a major role in biological processes, including cell signaling. But normally, such processes have to be studied through complex analyses of cell cultures. With the Venus flytrap, they can be observed directly, when the pods snap shut.Understanding such processes, the scientists say, could help biomedical researchers and aerospace engineers create a new generation of “intelligent materials” that can use similar signaling processes to change shape as needed, much as the Venus flytrap reflexively snaps shut when it senses its prey. It’s an open and shut case for new research, including a more detailed examination of exactly how the various parts of the plant know how to spring shut at just the right moment.last_img read more

HUSD board approves 179 million budget

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first_img By Linda Kor With the annual budget set for approval, a public meeting was held prior to the July 10 meeting of the Holbrook Unified School District Governing Board, with no comment from the public.Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad HUSD board approves $17.9 million budget July 17, 2018last_img

Packets for recall election will be available August 8

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first_img Candidate packets for the upcoming recall election in Holbrook will be available for the public beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 8.  The deadline to return the packets is 5 p.m. on Sept 7.Subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Ad July 31, 2018 Packets for recall election will be available August 8last_img